Skip to main content

tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  March 28, 2012 5:00pm-8:00pm EDT

5:00 pm
quorum call:
5:01 pm
5:02 pm
mr. grassley: i ask that the call for the quorum be suspended. officer without objection. mr. grassley: i want to ask if it is preept for me to -- if it is appropriate for me to peek fo--for me to speak for the juds who will be up for vote. the presiding officer: it is. mr. grassley: we are moving forward in the regular order and procedure of the senate. this year we have been in session for about 35 day, including today. during that time we have
5:03 pm
confirmed 14 judges. that's of average than better than one confirmation every three days. with the confirmations today, the senate will have confirmed nearly 75% of president obama's article 3 judicial nominations. despite the progress that we're making, we're still hearing complaints about the judicial vacancy rate. we're filling those vacancies, but again i want to remind my colleagues something that the united states senate has no control over. that of the 98 current vacancies, 50% of the vacancies have no noments. nossments so, it's impossible for the senate to impossible for the senate to >> it is impossible for the senate to respond to the complaints that we hear in theth senate or from the white housen that somehow the senate is notyc moving fast enough on sta nominations.
5:04 pm
you cannot have a boat in the united states senate to fillunit some vacancy where there is no one from the united states. get the job done, get the nominees up here. as you can tell, i'm going to be a bit wary of the vacancy being blamed on senate republicans. as on numerous occasions, with which i undertake the functions of the senate intelligence, a pleasant personality, and inspiring life story, or a prestigious clerkship. when i became ranking member of the judiciary committee, i articulated my standards for judicial nominees. i want to be sure that the men and women who are appointed to the lifetime position in the federal judiciary are qualified to serve. factors i consider important
5:05 pm
include intellectual ability, respect for the constitution, fidelity to the law, personal integrity, appropriate judicial temperaments, and professional competence. in applying these standards, i have demonstrated good faith in ensuring fair consideration to judicial nominees. i have worked with the majority to confirm consensus nominees. in fact, of the 138 judges confirmed so frarks i voted in favor of over 90% of president obama's judicial nominees. this includes supporting 100 of 108 district judges that we have confirmed during president obama's term of office. however, today on the agenda is a nominee that in my judgment does not measure up to the criteria that i've outlined. ms. miranda du was nominated to be district judge for the district of nevada on august 2 last year.
5:06 pm
i have heard ms. du's life story, leaving vietnam following the war, living in refugee camps with her family, coming to america at a young age, abtaining an -- obtaining an education and establishing herself in a respectfullable career. she as risen above disadvantage that moves us can't maching this is great success story and we congratulate her on nobility accomplishments. however ukes thi, this is not st for confirmation to a lifetime appointment as a federal judge. we all can think of similar success stories. miguel estrada, immigrated to the united states, clerked at the supreme court and had a prestigious legal creemplet his confirmation was defeated by a democratic filibuster. justice thomas grew up in humble circumstances, rose above his background to graduate from yale law school, faced discrimination in legal hiring but went on to
5:07 pm
an illustrious public service career. he was barely confirmed to the supreme court by our senate. jenny suri brown was daughter of sharecroppers. overcoming these circumstances, she graduated from the university of los angeles, california, working her way through as a single mother. sheerved on the california supreme court. her federal judicial nominations face add democratic filibuster before she was kindly -- finally confirmed by a vote of 56-43. i bring up these examples to point out that many individuals we consider for judicial positions have overcome difficult circumstances in life. most are examples of the american dream. some are confirmed. others are not confirmed. but in each case, a gender or race of the individual or a particular life story was not part of the consideration of
5:08 pm
whether or not to confirm to a lifetime appointment. so while i think ms. du's accomplishments are admirable, they are not the basis for evaluating her qualifications to serve as a federal district judge. the relevant factors for me are her ability and professional competence. in those areas she does not meet the standards i would consider necessary for a federal judge. i would note that the american bar association has rated ms. du with a partial "not qualified" rating. she states she was involved in four jury trials and ha trials. ms. du appeared at her nomination hearing. at that hearing, she was asked about a case in which she was lead counsel. ms. du was a pardoner in charge of handing the case of woods v. truckee metals water
5:09 pm
authority. in that case, she filed a motion to dismiss the original complaint, but she failed to raise the lack of subject matter jurisdiction as a reason to dismiss the case. the court therefore denied her motion. but th the union's counsel -- mc ms. du then filed a third-party complaint against the local union but the union's counsel recognized that there was no subject matter jurisdiction. therefore, they advised ms. du in a six-page letter that the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction. the union therefore warned ms. du that they would seek sanctions if ms. du did not withdraw her complaint. rather than recognizing her complaint and filing second motions to dismiss, ms. du went forward with the third-party complaint. in resporntion the union proceeded exactly as they said they would. they filed a motion to dismiss and filed for sanctions.
5:10 pm
the district court agreed. there was no subject matter jurisdiction and dismissed the action. in addressing the sanctions issue, the court stated -- quote -- "having reviewed the record and considered arguments of counsel at the hearing on this motion, the court finds that tmwa's counsel acted recklessly." that's the end of quote. let me remind you, tmwa's counsel was the nominee, ms. du. the court said she acted recklessly. the court went on to state that tmwa has not advanced a legitimate good-faith reason for bringing the union into this litigation. end of quote. accordingly you the court concluded sanctions were warranted. at her hearing, senator lee asked her if she agreed with the court's assessment that her conduct was reckless. she stated that she did not believe that she was reckless. in written, follow-up questions, i asked her again about the
5:11 pm
court finding her recreationless and she responded that she disagreed with the magistrate judge fiendle. so let me be very clear. the finding of the wreckless action on her part was not a mere observation of the court but it was a legal finding. that finding allowed the court to order sanctions pursuant to u.s.c.1927. i was troubled that she was fail to acknowledge the findings of the court that she wa she was wreckless. i understand that attorneys may make mistakes or have different views on litigation strategy. however, this is not a case -- it is not the case in this situation. ms. du was put on notice of her flawed motion, was warned of the consequences of proceeding, and went forward anyway. this is why the court found her to be -- quote, unquote --
5:12 pm
"reckless." this goes against the standard of judicial nominees which i have previously discussed. there's another substantive legal element that concerns me. that is her apparent lack of knowledge or disregard for the law regarding subject matter jurisdiction. senator lee's questions at the hearing on this issue i think demonstrate a lack of ability or professional competence. her written responses to questions for the record failed to adequately explain her legal reasoning or to clarify the issues raised at her heempleg -r hearing accordingly. members on the senate judiciary committee unanimously opposed reporting her nomination to the senate. i would thole not that more than two months after her hearing and more than -- after she was listed on the executive calendar, ms. du sent a letter addressed to me and senator lee. in that letter, she apologized forellier unclear explanations and for her misstatements.
5:13 pm
while appreciated her response to me, the doubts i have about her ability and competence remain. therefore, i cannot support this nomination. i urge a "no" vote on the nominee and i yield the floor. ms. landrieu: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. ms. landrieu: thank you, mr. president. i knee senator inhofe was on the floor, and if i could ask unanimous consent after i speak that he would be next to speak and then the good senator, senator lee, from utah. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. ms. landrieu: thank you, mr. president. it's my distinct privilege to come to the floor this afternoon to voice my full support for sue susie morgan, for her confirmation as an article 3 judge on the u.s. eastern district in louisiana. i have known susie for many years. she is a good friend and, more importantly, she is an excellent
5:14 pm
and outstanding attorney. ms. morgan comes to this position, mr. president, equipped with decades of litigation experience in federal court. as an advocate for both plaintiffs and defendants. she brings a thorough understanding of the federal law and unquestionably fair and even-handed temperament. it's unfortunate that such a talented individual like sue sue morgan has been waiting nearly a year since president obama nominated her in july of 2011, and almost five months since she was voted out of committee unanimously. despite what the good senator from iowa, my good friend and really wonderful partner in so many important issues here has said, the fact of the matter is, mr. president, there are 17 judicial nominees on this calendar.
5:15 pm
there are 19 judicial nominees in committee. and the facts are that the nominees for president obama have taken nearly five times longer to receive a vote on this floor. we know that there are some vacancies that have not yet received nominations, but there's no reason to deny these 17 that are still on the calendar their day on this floor, and ms. morgan has waited more than her turn, and i apologize to that. she understands th -- she understands this has been caught up in bigger politics. it has nothing to do with her nomination specifically or her outstanding qualifications. but i do think that we have to be honest about these delays and see what we can do to move people that are qualified like this so much more quickly, because the courts need their help. ms. morgan earned an advanced degree from the university of louisiana in monroe.
5:16 pm
she graduated then both her undergraduate and masters, and then a law degree on top of that, graduating in the top 5% of her class. immediately after earning her j.d., susie served as a law clerk for one of louisiana's most respected legal minds, henry politz of the u.s. fifth circuit court of appeals. at the conclusion of that federal clerkship she began practicing in shreveport louisiana for weiner, wise and madison. for the next 25 years, she honed her skills. she was one of the most capable civil defense attorneys in both federal and state court. after years of a successful practice in shreveport, susie was recruited by one of the most prestigious law firms in new orleans, felps du nbar where she
5:17 pm
specialized in commercial litigation. she served in a variety of posts, mr. president, as many of our wonderful nominees have, serving without much fanfare but with great impact. on many committees of the louisiana bar, federal bar, et cetera. one of the most important, i think, that i want to mention here is that for 14 years she chaired a rules committee. not, you know, the sexiest kind of committee, not something that is known to the public, but is so important to the practice of law for the thousands of attorneys that practice in louisiana. she spent years behind the scenes improving louisiana state court proceedings. so for almost 14 years, as i said, she chaired the rules committee of the louisiana bar association. thanks to her leadership, the louisiana supreme court agreed to replace an old, antiquated system where each judicial district in louisiana adhered to its own set of i had i don't set
5:18 pm
of its own rules and now we have uniform rules for the entire state. i think that is a special tribute to her tenacity, to her willingness to serve and to do the hard work behind the scenes without a lot of public credit. i'm also impressed with the legal protection services she's offered to the homeless at st. joseph's, named after harry thomas center in new orleans, and multiple community works that she's done pre and postkatrina in our community. she's had a career that has demonstrated her willingness to work hard, to stay at the job, to get the job done, to be fair, to be courteous, to be respectful, and of course she is most knowledgeable of the law that she has so well served. i am so proud to support her nomination, mr. president. i'm proud that president obama
5:19 pm
accepted ply suggestion and -- accepted my suggestion and nominated her, and i'm very pleased that in this senate today she should receive a full and strong sroefplt she has the support of both myself and the other senator, my partner from louisiana, senator vitter. and i am very pleased to speak on her behalf today. and i recognize, of course, the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: today i introduce s. 2248, a bill that will ensure and clarify that we'll keep the regulation of the process of hydraulic fracturing at the state level as opposed to the tphrefrl. i'm joined by -- federal level. i'm joined by senators risch, cornyn and lee. however, since this is not about a judge, i would yield my time to the junior senator, who is also a cosponsor of this, from utah, senator lee. the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. lee: thank you very much, mr. president. mr. president, i rise to express
5:20 pm
serious concerns that i have with the nomination of miranda du to serve as a judge on the u.s. district court for the district of nevada. in 2007, the very same court to which ms. du has now been nominated, imposed sanctions on ms. du for multiplying the proceedings unreasonably and vexatiously under 28 s.c. section 1927. the basis of sanctions order was ms. du's refusal to dismiss a complaint she filed on behalf of her client, even after the party her client was suing informed her, and as she did not dispute, that the federal district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction. in imposing these sanctions on ms. du, the district court stated that she -- quote -- "acted recklessly in failing to consider seriously the basic issue of lack of subject matter jurisdiction when the opposing party brought it to her attention." close quote.
5:21 pm
ms. du's errors were courageous particularly because they involved federal subject matter jurisdiction. the very basis of the limited jurisdictional reach of the federal court system for which she's been nominated to be a judge. ms. du has not provided a satisfactory explanation for her conduct, but instead has repeatedly attempted to minimize the significance of her errors. when asked at her judiciary committee hearing why in addition to dismissing her complaint against the third-party defendant, she did not have a case dismissed against her client -- that she did not have the case against her client dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, ms. du responded that she did not realize that this was a matter that she could raise and that she in fact did raise subject matter's jurisdiction, but on grounds that the district court disagreed with. however, as pointed out in a letter that members of the judiciary committee sent to
5:22 pm
ms. du following her hearing, court filings show had show thae did not raise the issue of subject matter jurisdiction. in response to that letter, ms. du state that had she misspoke at her judiciary committee hearing and that she in fact had not raised the basic issue of subject matter jurisdiction. troublingly, ms. du's belated candor was marred by an additional misleading attempt to minimize these same errors. in her letter, ms. du stated that the motion for sanctions was later dismissed as moot and no sanctions were ultimately imposed. by going out of her way to make this misrepresentation, ms. du attempted to suggest that her sanctions were somehow not upheld or imposed. to the contrary, after the court was burdened with a number of additional filings and motions regarding how much ms. du should pay as sanctions for her reckless conduct, the parties
5:23 pm
settled the issue out of court. the only matter that was mooted was the dispute over how much ms. du should pay, not whether she should pay. it is misleading for ms. du affirmatively to assert to members of the judiciary committee that no sanctions were imposed. when the district court found that her reckless -- found that she had based recklessly and plainly required and imposed such sanctions, in light of the gravity of ms. du's errors and the importance to our federal judiciary of the matter of subject matter jurisdiction as well as ms. du's repeated attempts to minimize her errors, i must express serious concerns with her nomination and encourage my colleagues to vote against her confirmation. thank you, mr. president. mr. inhofe: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. inhofe: i ask to be recognized. however, if someone comes in to
5:24 pm
talk about the vote or the judges coming up, i will yield to them. i mentioned, mr. president, that i introduced s. 2248 with a substantial number of cosponsors. and the reason for this, the state jurisdiction of a process called hydraulic fracturing has taken place since 1949. in 1949 the first hydraulic fracturing well took place in duncan, oklahoma. and it's interesting that there has not been one documented case in over a million wells using this process in 60 years of ground water contamination. as a matter of fact, numerous studies, including the ground water protection council of the e.p.a. and the energy institute at the university of texas at austin have found no evidence of hydraulic fracturing posing a risk to water wells or ground water. there are a lot of people who believe, and i'm among these people, that the whole reason for an effort to take it over at
5:25 pm
the federal level is to do away with the process called hydraulic fracturing. it's kind of interesting that recently in some of the shale deposits and the discoveries that have been made here in the united states, that we have been able to get in there and using this process, come up with huge reserves and start producing these reserves. however, in every case, without exception -- in fact, i would go so far as to say that you can't get one cubic foot of gas, natural gas out of a type formation without aougs the hydraulic fracturing -- without using hydraulic fracturing, a process that has always been and will continue to be a very safe process. despite the evidence in president obama's recent campaign rhetoric, this administration continues to wage an all-out war on domestic oil and gas development. during the state of the union message, it was interesting because apparently now because of the high price of gas at the
5:26 pm
pumps, the president is feeling the political pressure. and so he's coming out and saying, no, i'm not against all fossil fuels, even though he has been for four years. and he started talking about clean, plentiful, cheap natural gas. i agree with that. that's what it is. however, at the same time if he could have that rhetoric and be able to make the case that the federal government needs to take over the process of hydraulic fracturing to be under his control and he could stop that process, he could cut off all, almost all production altogether. according to the nonpartisan congressional review service -- research service -- and this is one that came out and reported a release this month, since 2007, # 6% of the oil -- 96% of the oil production increase took place on nonfederal lands. a study also found 93% of shale oil in gas wells were on private
5:27 pm
and state lands. the department of interior is in the process of issuing rules which will further discourage production on federal lands and federally regulated disclosure fracking, well integrity and waste water. according to secretary of taoeurpb kwror ken -- secretary of interior ken salazar, these are models which they hope for future regulation of state lands. the obama ao*ep is looking to -- the obama e.p.a. is looking to hydraulic fracturing. what does this legislation do? tphaeubgs clear that the state has sole authority. this would include federal land located within the borders of a state. it also requires hydraulic fracturing on federal lands to comply with the state laws. the activities related to hydraulic fracturing are already regulated at the federal level under the variety of environmental statutes, including portions of the clean
5:28 pm
water act, safe drinking water act and clean air act. states better understand their unique geologies. a lot of people don't understand. i happen to be from oklahoma, which is an oil state. but it varies from state to state. the previous speaker from louisiana, her deposits are found at a totally different level than we would in the state of oklahoma. recently people think of all these deposits being located in the west. however, the marcellas discoveries that have been made, they are actually in new york state and pennsylvania. so it's -- their regulation, local regulation is much more applicable than it would be if you did it at the federal level. so i would only say, and i know we're up against a hard vote right now, i have introduced the bill. it's s. 2248. i want invite cosponsors. if we want to do something, here we are in the united states of america with more recoverable
5:29 pm
reserves in oil, gas and coal than any country in the world. and we could be completely self-sufficient from mideastern oil if we just would get politics out of the way and start developing our own resources. we are the only country in the world that doesn't develop its own resources. so that's the answer to the problem. that's the answer to the price of oil at the pump. so it's just one more obstacle we need to get out of the way, the state regulation of this process called hydraulic fracturing. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
5:30 pm
quorum call:
5:31 pm
5:32 pm
5:33 pm
a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from california. mrs. boxer: i ask that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. boxer: i ask for the yeas and nays on the nomination. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be a sufficient second. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
5:34 pm
5:35 pm
5:36 pm
5:37 pm
5:38 pm
5:39 pm
5:40 pm
5:41 pm
5:42 pm
5:43 pm
5:44 pm
5:45 pm
5:46 pm
5:47 pm
5:48 pm
5:49 pm
5:50 pm
5:51 pm
5:52 pm
5:53 pm
5:54 pm
5:55 pm
5:56 pm
5:57 pm
5:58 pm
the presiding officer: does any senator still wish to vote or to change his or her vote? if not, on this nomination the ayes are 59 and the nays are 39 and the nominee is confirmed. under the previous order, the question is on the morgan nomination. a senator: the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be a sufficient second. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
5:59 pm
6:00 pm
6:01 pm
6:02 pm
6:03 pm
6:04 pm
6:05 pm
6:06 pm
6:07 pm
6:08 pm
6:09 pm
6:10 pm
6:11 pm
6:12 pm
6:13 pm
the presiding officer: are there any senators in the chamber wishing to vote or to change their vote? if not, on this vote, the yeas are 896, the nays are 1, and the no, ma'am -- the yeas are 96, the nays are 1 and the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, the motions to reconsider are considered made and laid on the table, any statements will be printed in the record, the president will be immediately note fietd of the senate's action and the senate will resume legislative session.
6:14 pm
the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. coburn: i ask unanimous consent that i be allowed to speak for 30 minutes and following that, the senator from rhode island be recognized. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. coburn: there's been a lot of comments made about energy and i have to admit i come from an energy state.
6:15 pm
a third of our economy is connected to energy in one way or another. and i think the political games that we're playing here are just that. you know, i have a vision that i can see 50 years of prosperity for america on the basis of one thing and that's actually using the wonderful resources that are in our country for our citizens. and extend an opportunity for our kids, in spite of our budget deficits, in spite of our debt, that would enable them to have the same kind of opportunities we've had. and the way that you do that is to utilize the resources. if you look around the world and you look at the most stable
6:16 pm
countries, you look at canada, what's happening? canada is living within their means, they have fairly low tax rates, they're utilizing their resources, they have trade surpluses. if you look at australia, they have a stable currency. their currency has markedly appreciated compared to the dollar. the canadian currency has markedly appreciated compared to the dollar. and they're utilizing their veers to advance their -- their resources to advance their country and their wealth and their opportunity. and we hear all these statements made by lots of people, but most of them are half-truths. and let me explain what i mean. there's nobody that disagrees that it's going to takes at least 25 to 30 years to wean ourselves from carbon fuels, if in fact we should do that. but let's say we should, what is
6:17 pm
the difference between burning a carbon atom that is coming from the middle east or venezuela versus a carbon atom that's produced here? because we're going to do thacho that. right now 30% of our oil comes from the middle east or venezuela, not necessarily areas of the world that are akin to be kind to us as a nation. here's the difference: if we burn our carbon atoms, we add between 2 million and 4 million jobs over the next ten years, maybe even more than that. if we burn our carbon atoms, which we're going to burn carbon for at least 25 years, we decrease our trade deficit by at least $200 billion a year. that's $200 billion of wealth that does not leave our nation.
6:18 pm
and it actually is more than that, because if we get $200 billion worth of american oil and american energy, that creates another $50 billion to $0 billio60 billion worth of ecc multipliers. we're the only nation in the world where we have the natural resources to make ourselves energy-independent and yet our government will not allow us to have access to that energy. so my challenge to my colleagues, given the fact that we will burn carbon -- we don't even have to have a discussion about global warming or climate change because even with the best estimates, it's going to take us 25230 yearto 30 years tf
6:19 pm
carbon. so during a that 25 or 30 years, should we not utilize or should we not create a way in which we actually consume our own resources rather than send money and wealth out of this country to be able to utilize the resources of someone else? and i'm for conservation, i'm for increased mileage, i'm for doing everything we can to wean ourselves from a dependency on a foreign source for our energy needs. other than our debt, the greatest risk this country faces is our dependency and reliance on somebody else for our energy needs. and if you take our friends in mexico and canada and you take what we're producing, we're able
6:20 pm
to attain 70% -- that's a tremendous change over the last few years -- and that doesn't have anything to do with the present administration. as a matter of fact, oil production, natural gas production -- both onshore and offshore -- is down in double digits under this administration. permitting, not new lands that have been opened up but existing lands that are open, have dropped 240% i to 40% in terms e permitting process. we in our nation have over 1.2 trillion barrels of oil equivalent that we can access if in fact we would. that's more than any other nation in the world. so what is it that the big political fight is about?
6:21 pm
is it -- do we really want to send wealth out of this country? do we really not want to take advantage of what is available to us simply because of our location as a nation, that will actually create tremendous opportunities for our children, that will create a new vision of america that is energy-independent, as we transition off of carbon-based fuel? why would we not want to do that when there's no difference in burning an imported carbon atom versus burning a carbon atom produced here? the benefits are obvious. we have a imi bill that we're considering that, to me, is mindless. it's about the politics of division, and it's not about any truth. the fact is the major oil
6:22 pm
companies that reside in our country pay the highest tax rate of anybody in the world and pay over 41.5% of every dollar of revenue they make; comes straight to the federal government. there aren't any other businesses that compare to that. google doesn't compare to that. facebook doesn't compare to that. apple doesn't compare to it. they're all half that rate. so we're already taxing the oil company -- as a matter of fact, to the tune of almost $36 billion last year came to the treasury from the major oil companies in this country. and the bill we have on the floor won't improve the revenue one dollar. that's a fact. there will not be one increase in dollar over a ten-year period that will come to the effect if you pass this bill. now, why is that? most people don't know, but my background is as an accountant.
6:23 pm
that was my first training. my first field. and accelerated dieppreciation just -- de-- and accelerated depreciation just delays the time that the federal government gets the tax dollars they're going to get. it doesn't change the amount of tax dollars. it just delays it so we match ref niewrks which is one of the things you're trained to do as an accountant and in business. you match revenues with expenses. oil depletion allowance isn't allowed for the large oil companies. it's been gone for 20 years, 20 years -- accelerated depreciation on what is called intangible drilling cost oz. it really won't have any major effect on oil companies. it'll literally kill the smaller companies because their capital needs are recaptured over a a lg
6:24 pm
period of time, if you eliminate intangible drilling costs. so what does that mean? that means you'll have less exploration in our country, where you will actually harm the exploration by the middle and small oil companies. and someone will say, well, we don't want to do that for them. we don't want to affect the -- we just want to affect the big oil companies. the big oil companies will pay no more net -- no increase change in their net taxes over a period of ten years. so the only thing that you could actually claim with this bill is the time value of money over that period of time. and the time value of money right now is less than 2% a year. so what are we really talking about? we're talking about a political game and we're not talking about energy security.
6:25 pm
we're not talking about creating 2 million to 4 million jobs. we're not talking about substance. we're talking about politics. and the shame is that nobody out there is talking about a vision where america doesn't send $200 billion of its wealth out of the country a year. there's no reason for us to do that. and we've had every excuse except a legitimate one for why we shouldn't burn our own oil and our own natural gas liquids. what we've seen in this country in the last five to seven years on private lands -- doesn't have anything to do with the federal government -- is a renaissance in energy independence, moving us from importing over 55%-60% of our oil from both the middle east and venezuela to 30%. that's a big change.
6:26 pm
why does it -- why is it that north dakota, montana, oklahoma, kansas, texas, louisiana, areas of pennsylvania, west virginia now -- why are they seeing declines in their unemployment rate? it's all because they're producing energy that we're going to burn no matter where it comes from, and we should be burning our own assets. the other thing that we don't think about is the fact that these energy companies have made at marked difference in the cost of everyday goods for every american in this country. go into your kitchen and look at all the products in your kitch kitchen. go into your bathroom and look at all the products in your bathroom. the fact is, natural gas at
6:27 pm
$2.13 a million b.t.u. today has aenable us to -- has enabled us to now become competitive worldwide. fertilizer, polyethylene, all the raw materials for packaging, for synthetic goods, from clothing to vinyls, to housing materials -- what has happened is a renewal in manufacturing in this country on the basis of this large expansion of available natural gas. and if we do that with oil as well, what we're going to do is set our country up to beat everybody in the world in terms of petrochemical by-products. why would we not want to do that? why would we put anything as a roadblock to that?
6:28 pm
so we've heard all the debate. the best part i know that seems the oddest to me is to think that doing this isn't going to have an impact on prices. we all talk about the fact that oil is a global commodity. and at the same time we're saying that we're saying american speculation on oil is why the price is higher. well, there's not just american speculation on oil. you can trade all over the world today in the commodities. why is there a $15 to $20 premium right now? because of the situation in the middle east with iran. would the prices come down if that political situation was gone? yes. would the prices come down if we eliminated every american's
6:29 pm
ability to speculate or hedge a bet against the price of oil? absolutely not. because the price of oil is set on the world market, not on the american market. and it's traded by everybody around the world. so the best way to lower the price of oil is to solve the problems in the middle east but produce more. prices go down it when production goes up. so the fact is we have an administration that has taken credit for something that they obviously aren't responsible for. which is exploration on private lands -- and has denied the fact that they have limited the ability of those people who actually have leases but no permits on public lands to explore for oil. and i'm not talking -- one of the answers you hear from the secretary of the interior is
6:30 pm
nobody wants to permit in natural gas. no, they don't, not at $2.13. but they all want a permit in the areas where there's oil or natural gassil gas liquids, exce permitting -- in fact the new plan is too cut the permits in half on lands that have already been open for exploration. i'd invite all the critics to come to oklahoma to see where we drill for oil. more oil rigs are running in this country by oklahoma companies than anybody else in the country combined. they do it well. they do it in an environmentally sound way. they do it with the smallest footprint you can imagine, and they're held to accountability by every corporation commissioned throughout the country. i know - in the president pro tempore's state, their commission is right on torture it. we have 60 years of experience
6:31 pm
in oklahoma with fracking. we've never had one contamination of any water zone in 60 years in the state, second to texas and louisiana, that has drilled more holes in the ground than any other state in the country. and so what we hear is all the reasons why we shouldn't create an opportunity through our natural resources for our kids rather than why we should. and it's time we should. there's one other thing that's affecting the price of oil that people don't talk about very often, and that happens to be the value of the dollar. when the dollar declines in value, when we have deficit spending and big debt, the price of oil goes up. why is that? because the price of oil is traded in dollars. so when the world sees us not
6:32 pm
addressing our deficit issue, our debt issue, what happens is the value of the dollar declines. you know, ten years ago the value of the euro versus the dollar was 96 cents. it's $1.32 today. so we can buy only two-thirds as much as we could ten years ago in terms of products from europe. well, that has an impact on the price of oil. if the dollar was strong, if we managed our budget well, if we didn't have deficits, oil would go down. so the next time you're angry about paying $4-plus for a gallon of gas, the only place you have to look is the u.s. congress. because if we weren't running deficits, if we were making are the tough decisions, the value of the dollar would be much
6:33 pm
stronger. the purchasing power of that dollar would be stronger, and the value of oil would be less. people don't talk about that. they just assume that it's just the world market. and it's not. it's what we do here markets. and the -- what we do here matters. and the fact is we don't address in any significant way the problems in front of us from a fiscal standpoint has created a lack of confidence in the value of the dollar. it has declined. therefore, the price of oil has gone up. so we have a way. this is one of the easy problems for america to solve. it's one of the ways to create a great opportunity for our kids and our grandkids. and that is utilizing the resources that we have here. and we can do that in an environmentally clean way that will not change our goal to become clean in terms of our energy utilization.
6:34 pm
you know, as you look at it, we subsidize solar. we subsidize, if you call it subsidization natural gas at 64 cents per megawatt-hour. oil at *69 cents. coal at somewhere slightly above that. for wind, it's over $100 per megawatt-hour. so the money you're paying in taxes, we're sending out to inefficiently compete with what is known to be there because the technology isn't there yet. and that's why it's going to take us 25 to 30 years to ever develop the technology to wean ourselves from carbon-based fuels. i put one more thought. there's new technology in terms of thorium nuclear reactors. a lot of people are worried
6:35 pm
about nuclear reactors, and they are concerned. we're very safe in this country how we've operated. and we have a very good nuclear regulatory commission that oversees that. but the new technology eliminates nuclear waste and eliminates any threat of a meltdown. now think about that. so here we have a new technology in nuclear that eliminates significantly 99% of the waste. there is absolutely no threat of a nuclear k explosion or nuclear meltdown. how many dollars did the department of energy put into that research last year? zero dollars. we have the president talking about algae. exxonmobil exxonmobil has spent
6:36 pm
almost $1 billion on algae. why should we take your tax dollars to invest in something that the biggest oil company in the world is already investing in? can we do it better? probably not. is more money the answer? no. technology and sign particular break -- and scientific breakthrough is the answer. and that takes time. as you hear the debate on raising taxes on oil companies, just remember, you're not really going to raise any taxes. because the amount of revenue that actually comes to the federal government isn't going to change. it sounds good. it's good for politics. it's good for the election cycle. it's good to give somebody, make somebody angry about the price of oil. but the problem with the price of oil has nothing to do with that. it has to do with supply. it has to do with the decreased value of the dollar. and it has to do with factors that are outside the control of this country in terms of market price for oil based on
6:37 pm
significant geo- political considerations. so i hope my colleagues will think a longer term rather than the next election about our energy needs. the one thing we've never had and the one thing i've already heard on the floor this week is it will take us ten years to become energy independent. i was in this body seven and a half years ago. i heard the same thing. had we been started -- had we started seven and a half years ago, we wouldn't be importing one drop of oil from the middle east today. not one. and the price of our gasoline wouldn't be above $4. so you can't use that as a reason not to do it. the fact is, is we can do it better. we can do it smarter. we can markedly increase the revenues to the federal government by increased resource utilization. and we're going to be burning carbon for at least 25 more years. i want us to burn our carbon,
6:38 pm
not somebody else's carbon. with that comes the future for our children. thank you, mr. president. and i yield the floor. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
6:39 pm
6:40 pm
6:41 pm
6:42 pm
6:43 pm
6:44 pm
6:45 pm
6:46 pm
6:47 pm
6:48 pm
6:49 pm
6:50 pm
6:51 pm
mr. whitehouse: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. whitehouse: mr. president, may i ask unanimous consent that the pending quorum call be
6:52 pm
lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. whitehouse: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i come to the floor of the senate this afternoon to urge speaker boehner and the house of representatives to pass the bipartisan senate highway jobs bill now. this is an important bill that would save or create nearly 3 million jobs with really a stroke of the president's pen. from washington in the northwest, 33,700 jobs. rhode island in the northeast, 9,000 jobs in our small state, to florida in the south, 81,700 jobs. this is the jobs bill that we
6:53 pm
need to act on. rhode island would receive $227 million a year for highways, roads and bridges from this bill and that would hold us steady at funding -- this year's funding levels. rhode island would also receive an additional $30.5 million each year for transit projects, which would be a 10% increase over this year's federal aid. importantly, this bipartisan senate bill that will be so good for jobs across this country includes language authorizing a program for projects of regional and national significance. that will help fund critical infrastructure projects like the providence viaduct, where i-95, the main northeast highway corridor, comes through rhode island, it goes through our capital city, providence, next to the providence place mall and it proceeds through providence as a bridge. it's a big, long land bridge.
6:54 pm
its condition is so poor that when you go underneath it, as you do to drive down and enter the back parking entrance of the mall, and you look up, you see that between the i-beams that support the highway have been laid planks. the planks are there to keep the highway falling in from landing on the cars that pass underneath the highway below. if you look just to the side where amtrak, the main rail corridor for the northeast, passes under the viaduct, you see 9 same thing, planks across the i-beams so that the road falling in doesn't land on the trains as they pass or block the tracks. it takes a program like the projects of regional and national significance program to address repairs of this magnitude, particularly in a small state like mine which simply doesn't have the
6:55 pm
resources to repair a facility like that built in 1964. the senate bill would send significant funds to states to build badly needed projects like these, and all of those projects not only repair crumbling, broken and deteriorated infrastructure, but they put americans back to work at a time when we still urgently need these jobs. so we passed this bill here in the senate, we passed it with 74 votes and another senator making it 75, expressing that had he not been required to be at a funeral in his home state, he would have voted for it. so you have 75 votes on a bipartisan bill that spent, if i remember correctly, five weeks on the floor of this body getting amendments, bipartisan amendments, amendments of all kinds being worked on and improved to the point where it could pass out of this body with that kind of a majority, even in the contentious and partisan
6:56 pm
atmosphere that often prevails in washington. this is a good bill, it is a bipartisan bill, it is a highways bill, it is a jobs bill and the house should move on it. what have they done instead? well, house republicans initially proposed funding transportation programs with a 30% cut in existing transportation funding. that, obviously, would have been a disaster. it would have resulted in the loss of an estimated 600,000 jobs across the country. so, of course, it was overwhelmingly opposed by transportation advocates and by business groups. the house republicans then tried to introduce something called the american energy and infrastructure jobs act back at the end of january. this bill was so extreme and so flawed that it was even opposed by many house republicans.
6:57 pm
it ended transit programs and went after things like offshore drilling. transportation secretary lahood was a republican member of the house of representatives himself for many years. he said about that house bill that it was the worst transportation bill i have ever seen and that it would take us back to the horse and buggy era. so with bipartisan opposition to this extreme worst bill that secretary lahood had ever seen, speaker boehner was forced to pull it and that was that for that effort. then they spent months going after budget proposals that would reduce spending on our highways and on our bridges and ultimately they have really thrown in the towel. they have no transportation bill
6:58 pm
in the house. they can't get one up for a vote so they've fallen back on trying to pass short-term extensions. well, first of all, that's not a great outcome for jobs and for the economy. according to the rhode island department of transportation, short-term extensions have had significant detrimental effects. these include delaying $80 million worth of projects which equate to the loss of 1,000 job years of work. delaying planning for needed safety and structural improvements of a $300 million to $400 million interchange that is in deplorable condition. delaying the advertising and award of the entire 2012 formula funded construction program, which may cause the state to miss an entire construction season. putting the entire road
6:59 pm
construction industry out of work for that season. making long-range planning and the development of a sound state transportation improvement program nearly impossible. and, last, jeopardizing the state's plan to design and construct the replacement of the providence viaduct that i spoke about. so the idea that an extension just carries on the status quo and it's more or less okay and it won't create harm and it won't cost jobs is just plain, dead wrong. there is job loss and there is economic loss associated with these extensions. so how have they done on the extensions? well, they haven't even managed to pull themselves together to deal with the extensions. the house leadership has proposed 60-day extensions and 90-day extensions to the federal transportation programs. twice they've placed these proposals over on their calendar but both times they've had to
7:00 pm
pull the proposals down because they don't have the votes. so what have they got over there? they've got no bill that they can vote for. the bill they did put up was called one of the worst and most extreme transportation bills in history by a former republican congressman. they can't get their act together to pass an extension even assuming that it's not a bad idea to pass an extension for our economy. they still can't do it even bad as an idea as it is. so they've got nothing. and we're coming up on a deadline. on march 31, the highway fund runs out. so we are up against a pretty serious timing constraint. and as we whittleway to those last days and as they get ready to leave the house and head home as they haven't done their work on transportation, it is becoming more and more urgent that they
7:01 pm
take some action. if they can't do a bill of their own, if they can't pass a 90-days extension, if they can't pass a 60-day extension, there is one obvious solution that is standing there as big as the proverbial ry rye "no" no, sir s are in the -- rhinosaurus in the living room. it is right there. it could be on the president's desk in just days. it is bipartisan with 75 votes in the senate. it creates nearly 3 million jobs in this country. the people of america understand that our highways, our roads, and bridges are important. they want us to go forward on this bill. this is not controversial. this should be easy. so the house needs to take a look at where they are and make
7:02 pm
a hard decision. they should not go home without addressing this problem and let us hit the deadline wall, particularly not with a good, solid bipartisan senate highway bill waiting to be taken up, waiting to be voted on, and waiting to be signed. all the indications are that if the senate highway bill were taken up by the house, it would pass. it would pass overwhelmingly. who would vote against a bill that creates 2.9 million jobs? who would vote against a bill that maintains our highways, our roads, and our bridges? who does not get in this country that our highway, our road, our bridge infrastructure is in terrible shape? we understand this. the nation's civil engineers have given our infrastructure failing grades in these areas. other countries spend 5%, 6%,
7:03 pm
8%, 9% of their gross domestic product on frark infrastructure, keeping it right, knowing it grows their economy. we are down below that. it is very unfortunate that the house at this point cannot sort itself out to come up with its own transportation bill, can't sort itself out to pass an extension. as bad as an idea that could be, they can't even do that. and a deadline is coming at them that is nongoshable. ideology, partisanship, all of these things don't matter against the hard deadline their driving this country toward. so i hope ads an hope and i urgy will tank the senate transportation bill. put it to a vote. let's get going. let's put 2.9 million people to work rebuilding our roads and highways and let's get america moving and working again. mr. president, thank you very much.
7:04 pm
i yield the floor, and i would note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. smi quorum call:
7:05 pm
mr. whitehouse: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator -- mr. whitehouse: mr. president, may i ask that the pending quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. the senator from rhode island is recognized. mr. whitehouse: mr. president, i now ask unanimous consent that the senate proard to a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. whitehouse: mr. president, i now ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to the consideration of senate resolution 408, take our daughters and sons to work day, which was submitted earlier today. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: s. res. 408, supporting the goals and ideals of take our daughters and sons to work day. the presiding officer: without objection, the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. whitehouse: i ask unanimous consent that the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, the motion to reconsider be laid on the table. the presiding officer: without
7:06 pm
objection. mr. whitehouse: mr. president, i now ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to senate resolution 409, regarding financial literacy month that was submitted earlier today. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: s. res. 409, designating april 2012 as financial literacy month. the presiding officer: without objection, the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. whitehouse: i ask unanimous consent that the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, the motion to reconsider be laid on the table, with no intervening action or debate, and that any statements be placed in the record as if read. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. whitehouse: finally, mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes by the business today, the senate adjourn until thursday, march 29, at 9:30 a.m., that following the prayer and pledge, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, the morning hour be deemed expired, and the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day.
7:07 pm
the presiding officer: without objection. mr. whitehouse: following any leader remarks the senate resume consideration of the motion to proceed to s. 2230, the paying a fair share act, with the time until 11:30 a.m. equally divided and controlled between the two leaders or their designees, with the tim majority controlling the first 30 minutes and the republicans controlling the second 30 minutes. the filing deadline for second-degree amendments to s. 2240, the repeal big oil tax subsidies acting 10:30 a.m. on thursday and that at 11:30 a.m. the senate proceed to a vote on the motion to invoke cloture on s. 2204. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. whitehouse: i am informed, mr. president, that the first vote tomorrow will be at approximately 11:30 in the morning on the motion to invoke cloture on the repeal big oil tax subsidies act.
7:08 pm
the transportation bill expires at the end of the month. that will also vs to be addressed -- that will also have to be addressed before we leave this week. if there's no further business to come before the senate, i ask that it adjourn under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate will be yarned until march 29 -- will be adjourned march 29 -- will be adjourned
7:09 pm
>> you had calls going all up and down the mississippi delta saying that blacks were now in revolt. and the next morning, a between 601,000 men, white men poured into phillips county to begin shooting down blacks. >> on american history tv on c-span3, sunday at 5:00 p.m. former student bruce lindsey on immigration at north north little rock high school. >> we don't know what's going to
7:10 pm
happen. we don't realize what's going to happen when we get this bill but they seem, the crowd is with us now in the momentum is behind us and they are pushing us up the stairs. in his speech to a group of economist alan krueger chairman of the president's counsel of economic advisers told members of the u.s. recovery and appears
7:11 pm
to be durable. he highlighted the job market but disagreed with some economist that attribute the recent job growth to seasonal factors. his remarks before the national association for business economics are 40 minutes. >> our speaker is here. let me welcome jay bryson. jay is a board member, an important part of our state leadership team. jay is also managing director and global economies with wells fargo. jay will introduce our speaker this morning. [applause] >> thanks. this is very much an honor to introduce this morning's keynote speaker dr. alan krueger who is currently chairman of the president's council of economic advisers. he's also currently on leave
7:12 pm
from princeton university where he is the bend high professor of economics and public policy since 1992. allen was born and bred in the state of new jersey and after graduating from livingston high school in 1979, he matriculated to cornell university where he graduated in 1983 with honors. then he moved on to harvard university where he earned his ph.d. in economics in 1987. from harvard allen moved back to his home state of new jersey where he joined the faculty of princeton university and is a young assistant professor of economics he started a research agenda that nearly 25 years later i think the word prolific does a disservice. now if i went through his cd line by line i would be here all morning so let me give you some of the highlights. by my account dr. krueger has 117 published papers. many of these papers are quality
7:13 pm
journal like the aer, quarterly journal of economics and the journal of labor economics. if that is not enough he's the author of seven books since 1995 and over the years he has been either the editor or the associate editor of six different academic journals including economic letters and the journal of economic perspectives. he is a research associate at the nber and princeton university's office of population research and he sits on the board of directors of the mccarver foundation. not only is dr. krueger widely considered to be among the foremost academic labor economist in the world today, he is no stranger to the world world of economic policy and as a matter of fact he has done three tours of duty if you will in policy. first a stand as chief economist of the u.s. department of labor from 1994 to 1995 and in return to the policy world in the beginning of the obama administration is the chief economist of the u.s. department of treasury and assistant secretary for economic policy at
7:14 pm
the treasury department. he was there from november of 2010 and returned to princeton a few months later. president obama called him back and he could not say knowing came back in his current position as the chair of cea as confirmed by the senate in november of 2011. he and his wife lisa have two children. i understand they are both students at princeton university. i am also told that he is an avid tennis player and fan and back during the deepest darkest days in 2001 when the economy was still in freefall he often incurred some of his colleagues at the treasury department including mr. geithner, mr. summers and sperling to get out on the court often to try to -- so it was a deep honor to introduce our speaker, dr. alan krueger. [applause]
7:15 pm
>> thanks jay very much for that kind and detailed introduction. kind of a walk down memory lane for me. i forgot livingston high school. i should point out the class ahead of me was jason alexander who starred in "seinfeld" and the class on the other side is chris christie, now the governor. as for tennis, i tried but did not succeed so much in getting my colleagues out to play although it was very nice to be able to take a break with people who you work with and do something athletic, or we thought it was athletic. i want to begin by commenting on the importance of business economists for us economists who work in the policy arena. compared with academic economists, which is the group i know most well, business economists are much more in
7:16 pm
tuned to current developments in the economy and puzzled about economic performance. business economists and see the economy up close from their companies were or industries perspective and they are aware of the strengths and limitations of our economic statistics and often have access to proprietary information that yields additional insights on how the economy is performing. business economists make a living by raising and answering questions that are critical to their companies, their industries, and for economic policymakers as well. business economists for example have asked why unemployment fell so much over the last year while gdp growth was close to its trend level? while other celebrated and frolicked and the good weather over the last few months.
7:17 pm
business economists have asked whether the good weather has caused this area's jump in job growth. business economists have asked whether possible corks and seasonal adjustment factors caused by the sharp decline in the economy at the end of 2008 at getting into thousand nine have skewed our economic indicators. newsletters, articles and commentaries that all of the provide spark a research agenda for us that the council of economic advisers. for these reasons i'm delighted to carry on the tradition of having the cea chairman participate in the main meetings. this is my second speech. some of you may recall that in the fall of 2009 when i was assistant secretary for economic policy at the treasury department, i had spoken at the nave meeting in st. louis about the need for better data to help
7:18 pm
us monitor trends in the economy, to help us make better business decisions and to help us to guide economic policy. this was a theme in this year's economic report of the president as well. each chapter contains a box called a data watch box on our statistical indicators. how they have improved, where we need to improve them and steps that the government and the private sector can take to improve our economic indicators. in some respects, the situation has improved since 2009 when i last spoke at nave and in others we have learned that it was worse than we thought. let me highlight an important example where the data is less accurate than we appreciated at the time. back when i spoke to nave and october 2009, the latest estimate was that gdp had
7:19 pm
contracted at an annual rate of 5.4% the fourth quarter of 2008. this was already resized to 1.6 percentage points from the initial estimate of minus 3.8% and now earlier in the year. last summer we learned from the annual revisions that the economy was contracting at an even faster annual rate of 8.9% in the fourth quarter of 2008. this was the largest downward revision" early gdp growth in over 60 years. although we knew things were bad the revised data indicate just how close we were too falling off the edge of the cliffs when the obama administration took office in january of 2009. the economic crisis that struck in the months before president obama took office caused more americans to lose their jobs
7:20 pm
than at any time since the great depression. initial claims for unemployment insurance rose to over $600,000 a week and the job openings and labor turnover survey or jolts antiquated -- indicated a plunge in hiring. there were many causes of the great recession and financial crisis that began at the end of 2007. i taught a course in the period while i was back at princeton called the great recession, consequences and remedies. the very first lecture i showed a slide that listed 20 possible factors that economists have identified as causes of the financial and economic crisis. these included stagnation of middle-class incomes and rising income inequality which caused families to borrow, maintain
7:21 pm
consumption. regulatory gaps and uneven regulations of the financial system that allowed risks to build up and shadow banking systems. the easy credit and a weak underwriting standards that led to an understandable bubble in housing and other markets, lack of transparency and the list went on and on. while economists will debate for a long time which of the potential causes was more or less central to the crisis, there can be little debating that the u.s. economy did not perform well earlier in the 2000's. even before the recession struck at the end of 2007, at the job market was signaling severe problems. for example, the period at the end -- the period from the end of the 2001 recession to december of 2007 was the only recovery on record which the amp
7:22 pm
employment to population ratio fell. we lost 3.4 million manufacturing jobs in the seven years before the recession started. and the middle-class has been struggling for decades. in 1970, half of all households had incomes within 50% of the median household. by 2010, that share was down to 42%. now these problems didn't happen overnight, but the recession made them much much worse. it will take more than a few years to meet the challenges that have been building for more than a few decades, but we are making progress in meeting those challenges. i like to use the rest of my time to discuss progress and the recovery to date and while we still have a long way to go,
7:23 pm
there are reasons to be cautiously optimistic about the economy going forward. my team is that the unique nature of the financial crisis and recession that followed have been the -- made the pace of the recovery uneven, but with the essential help of policy actions that the obama administration has taken, the economy is making a transition to more sustainable footing. the job market in particular is healing from the deep wounds inflicted by the financial crisis. although there is a long way to go before the labor market is restored to full health, the accumulating evidence should lead confidence to the view that the economy is on the mend. i say this in full recognition of the fact that there is a long way to go to address the severe economic problems that have been brewing for a long time and then
7:24 pm
boiled over in the great recession. there are still far too many americans out of work or underemployed. that is why the president has put forward a number of proposals to create jobs and speed the recovery. this includes support for state and local governments to retain teachers and first responders, investment in infrastructure and help for more homeowners to refinance their mortgages. families across the country are still struggling to make ends meet while currently dealing with high gasoline prices and the president will continue to pursue every responsible effort to expand clean energy sources and domestic energy production. the economist charles kindleberger and more recently, and reinhard inc. can rogoff
7:25 pm
have argued that recessions associated with financial crises are typically deeper than normal downturns and that the recoveries that followed had to take longer. the fact that downturn follows financial crises are deeper is evidence of how valuable financial services are to the economy and the profound impact that disrupting these services has on households. it is also a result of the painful adjustment that occurred when families -- in the first place. it is against this backdrop that one should look at the progress that has been made in the current recovery. i like to use the analogy of a tug-of-war in describing the current recovery. on the one side, we have the forces of the financial disruption and deleveraging that
7:26 pm
kindleberger, reinhardt ryan howard and rogoff have described. on the other side we have a natural tendency for the u.s. economy to return to a trend after recession, he recession, even after he great depression. a bigger drop can lead to a bigger rebound because there are more underutilized resources to put back to work, so we have a tug-of-war between what i call kindleberger's curse and natan's third law of economics. in the past couple of years after shocks of the financial crisis, most importantly debt problems and banking problems in europe, have reduced risk appetite and slowed our recovery. the congress is unseemly debate about raising the debt ceiling didn't help matters either. yet in spite of these headwinds, we have had 10 consecutive
7:27 pm
quarters of economic growth. on the whole, the pace of real gdp growth so far during this recovery has been almost as fast as was the case at similar stages of the past two recoveries. if we look just at the private sector, the recovery has been a bit faster than what was the case in a recovery from the 2001 recession. the sectors which are lagging behind the most in this recovery are those that are most directly connected to the financial crisis and which are still in pared by the lingering effects of the financial crisis. most notably, residential investment is recovering more slowly than it has in previous recoveries and home prices have been soft in many parts of the country. this is a direct result of the
7:28 pm
overbuilding that took place during the boom years, but the housing market shows signs of stabilizing thanks in part to government policies that have helped millions of families to modify or refinance their mortgage at historically low interest rates. most importantly, because new home construction has been so weak for years, we should now be close to the point where we have worked off the excess home construction during the bubble years. demographic factors should lead housing demand to pick up in the near future in many regions of the country. indeed, it is significant that we are on a path to have four consecutive quarters of positive residential investment growth for the first time in over five years. homes are now more affordable than they have been in years and
7:29 pm
the recent rise in mortgage interest rates could encourage potential buyers to get off the sidelines and enter the housing market while affordability is still near record levels. even moderate growth in residential construction and home sales will boost jobs and gdp compared to the job losses we have seen in construction in recent years. consumption has also grown at a slower pace in this recovery compared with other recoveries. this is the result of the need for many households to repair their balance sheets after borrowing at an unsustainable rate than the previous decades. if we disaggregate consumption, we see that durable goods consumption is growing almost as
7:30 pm
strongly as in the average recovery but growth in services consumption has been notably restrained. consumption of services include purchases like travel, membership and clubs and sports centers, purchases that may be more discretionary like car repair or dry cleaning or laundry services. consumer spending on services account for almost half of gdp and even more, even a larger share of jobs in the u.s. economy. consumers have put off a large number of discretionary services. the dragon the housing values and consumption spending has severely constrained and cut state and local governments revenues in many areas. state and local governments are
7:31 pm
dependent on sales taxes and property taxes. the hedge in revenues has interned cause state and local governments to cut back on spending and this is the final component of gdp that is lagging behind, compared to past recoveries. despite these headwinds, the recovery in the private economy is stronger than it was in the last recession and almost as strong as it was in the early 1990s. over the 10 quarters following the end of the recession, the private components of gdp have grown at an average annualized rate of 3.4%. in the recovery from the 2001 recession, the growth rate was a half a point lower at 2.9% over the first 10 quarters. government spending and growth
7:32 pm
investment on the other hand have declined over the past year, where is in previous recoveries, they were still growing or declining at a much slower pace at this point. business investments and exports have been supporting growth. the corporate sector came through the recession in relatively healthy shape as evidenced by a robust profits and strong corporate balance sheets. let me in next turned to employment. when we look at employment we see similar patterns across the yours as we see for economic growth. and on the whole, we are covering -- recovering about in-line or stronger than the past two recoveries and again the areas of weakness for those that were related to the financial crisis.
7:33 pm
private-sector job growth bega
7:34 pm
and another 2 million during the recession, in the current cover the manufacturing sectors added 429,000 jobs. the sectors of the economy that have been slower to recover have also seen slower job growth. parallel to the situation in state and local government, we have seen state and local government employment in a particular area of weakness. this recovery officially began in mid-2009. we have lost nearly 600,000
7:35 pm
state and local government jobs. a large number of these are teacher jobs. nonetheless, job losses in state and local governments have begun to moderate in recent months. as jay mentioned i served as chief economist at the u.s. labor department in the mid-1990s. i remembered scrutinizing the jobs report every month. it is noteworthy that private-sector job growth is tracking rather closely to the past -- path that was on in the early 1990s recovery. indeed one could argue that the job market is on a path similar to that in the mid-1990s when slow and steady jobs led to a healthy job market. the main difference now is that the problems from earlier in the 2000's have given the job market a much deeper hole to dig out
7:36 pm
of. that we are headed in the right direction despite the many challenges that the economy faces. some have questioned whether the job growth in this recovery is sustainable. just six months ago, when i started on my current job, predictions of a double-dip recession were common. those odds have greatly diminished. in the 2012 economic report by the president present the council of economic advisers predicted 2 million jobs would be added to the economy in 2012. if this forecast proves to be correct we would have the strongest job growth in six years. although my crystal ball is no clearer than anyone else's, i think some economists have been too quick to dismiss recent job growth as a statistical fluke.
7:37 pm
just a few months ago, many commentators were arguing that the strong job growth in december of 2011 originally reported 200,000 jobs and later revised that to 223,000, was an aberration due to a jump in partial delivery -- parcel delivery jobs caused by the proliferation of internet shopping during the holiday season. the spheres faded when january and february showed stronger job growth and revisions to december's data erased the surge in the courier and messenger industry. more recently, some have chalked up the faster job growth and drops in uninsurance -- unemployment insurance to buy unseasonable weather. we have indeed had warmer weather in many parts of the
7:38 pm
country this year, but the evidence suggests that the recent job gains have been more robust than would be suggested that they were merely a result of favorable weather. for example if we look at regions of the u.s. with more temperate climates, the drop in unemployment insurance claims and the rate of job growth were about as strong or stronger than they were in the nation as a whole. for example, the western and gulf coast states have had the strongest rate of job growth from the third quarter of 2011 to january 2012, the most recent monthly state data. yet others have argued that inaccurate seasonal adjustment factors have been responsible for the drop in unemployment and acceleration of job growth.
7:39 pm
although it is always difficult to disentangle seasonal cyclical factors, i am skeptical that seasonal factors are skewing our key statistics in a major way. the bureau of labor statistics does a more sophisticated job seasonally adjusting employment data as at the industry level and scanning for outliers than most people realize. if we do something really simple like use the implied monthly and seasonal factors toward say the unemployment rate from 2007 from before the deep plunge in the economy, we use those seasonal factors to adjust the unemployment rate over the last six months, the unemployment rate is bound to drop by slightly more than what has is shown in the official data, which suggests a change and seasonal factors are not responsible for the drop in the
7:40 pm
unemployment rate in recent months. putting aside seasonal and whether factors, the evidence suggests that the extension of a payroll tax cut and other steps that have been taken to support the economy are helping the job market to gradually healed. this is suggested for example by the broader-based growth in jobs across industrial sectors in recent months and by the fact that some lagging sectors appeared to be reaching bottom and beginning to turn around. it is also instructive to look at the data by firm size. although small businesses were hit especially hard by the recession and then caught in a credit crunch, employment among small firms has recently begun to recover. the data permit us to look at changes in hiring, changes in layoffs, changes and other
7:41 pm
separations, to provide a fuller picture of how the economy is doing and to breakdown by establishment size. the bet data also provides a look at job growth by firm size, as i mentioned earlier. some other improvements are extreme. the national income accounts should become more accurate as the dea's quarterly services survey data accumulates to allow enough time for seasonal adjustment and further validation. equally importantly, the private sector is moving rapidly to expand the types of economic data that are available. everyone probably already knows that google trend provides a great tool for economic analysis. as we highlight the economic report of the president sources
7:42 pm
like link didn't have the potential to provide real-time information on the types of jobs that are in high and low demand. when linked lincoln provided us information on the growing occupations i have to admit to not being aware that such titles of media manager. i think that is quite telling because a lot of job growth takes place in industries and occupations that are new, that are statistical measures lagging behind measuring. but there is much more that can be done. and consider the unemployment insurance data. initial claims revived the most informative and timely high-frequency data we have put the ui data have provided essentially the same information for decades.
7:43 pm
shouldn't it be possible to extract more information about job losses by industry and occupation, education or demographic groups from the ui claims. we know ui claims are down to their lowest level in four years. when it be nice to know what sectors have seen more of a decline of others or whether older or younger workers have seen more but declined or whether the job mining rate of ui recipients is greater for younger or older workers and how it is change. in closing, i want to reiterate that the u.s. economy appears to be on the mend after suffering deep wounds from the financial crisis and subsequent recession. the obama administration is continuing to address problems that were a long time in the making and we are committed to continuing to do so.
7:44 pm
after 10 consecutive quarters of gdp growth and increasing job growth, the recovery appears to be durable. and this durability has persisted in spite of adverse shocks of varying magnitudes from the the h1n1 epidemic, the eve t. -- vp oil spill, turmoil in the mideast that raised oil prices,, confidence shocks from the european sovereign debt and banking crisis and then the contentious congressional debt limit debate a year ago and most recently higher gas prices caused by geopolitical concerns. i have to say after reading that list it's about time we had some good weather to prove that not all shocks are negative.
7:45 pm
sustaining the recovery in the short-run is critical for having the wherewithal to further address our long-run problems of a declining middle class and an unsustainable federal budget. the extension of the two percentage point payroll tax cut and continuation of extended unemployment insurance benefits which president obama called for in his american jobs act should support demand for the economy in the current year and provide a buffer against the rise in gasoline prices. as the president has said, he wants us all to create an economy that is built to last. the president has made clear his goals for a stronger foundation for the u.s. economy based on a revival of american manufacturing and the development of a wide array of
7:46 pm
domestic energy sources. in his state of the union address, the president outlined a clear agenda to achieve these goals, including the lower corporate tax rate that will enable our manufacturers to be more competitive, investment in infrastructure, innovation and education and end all-of-the-above strategy for developing domestic energy sources. the u.s. economy has considerable long-run stress that will put us in a good stand as long as we build on our strengths and take the necessary actions to make the economy innovative in our workforce more highly-skilled. this point was made very clearly by president obama. in his speech in kansas, he noted that quote, the world is shifting to an innovation economy, and nobody does
7:47 pm
innovation better than america. no one has better colleges. nobody has better universities. nobody has a greater diversity of talent and ingenuity. no one's workers or entrepreneurs are more driven or more daring. the things that i've always been our strengths match up perfectly with the demands of the moment. end quote. i would add that no country has a better group of business economists to help decide's business decisions and provide new insight into the workings of the economy but i very much appreciate the opportunity to be with you this morning and i hope i left a little time for questions. [applause]
7:48 pm
i don't know your schedule so tell me how much time i have left. >> can simonsen with associated general contractors of america. you made a strong case for improvement in the labor market but we heard yesterday from chairman bernanke and a lot of articles recently about disparities in that labor market, that there are a lot of workers who have been unemployed for a long time and workers with lower skills being left out. do you not see that as a problem and if it is a problem how would you address it? >> i see be as clear as i can. and i don't think there is any disagreement in my views and what chairman bernanke said yesterday. the job market has made a lot of progress from a very bad situation. we still have far too many workers unemployed. long-term unemployment i think is a very important rob on that
7:49 pm
we face. i agree with the broad outline of ben bernanke speech on the job market. as a labor economist i certainly agree that the main problems we face in the job market today are cyclical, although there have been structural problems going on for a wild. the rise in unemployment and much of the remaining elevation of unemployment is primarily a cyclical phenomenon. >> i am with fidelity investments. first off, thank you for continuing the tradition of the cea breakfast at nabe. really appreciated and second really appreciate the interaction between policymakers and economic chairs. we do to a policy survey and our membership by extremely large majority thinks that the fiscal
7:50 pm
deficit is one of the biggest problems facing the united states and as we advise our business is that we work with, i think most of us are concerned over the long term as the fiscal deficit so what are your thoughts on bowles-simpson group of six and future attempts at addressing this very large problem? >> i think there is no question that the fiscal situation is a large challenge to the united states. a think we need to do two things at once. we need to strengthen and sustain the recovery and we need to address our long-run deficit problem. we have a window where we can do both. i think the president has made clear his attention to use a balanced approach to addressing our fiscal situation. he wants to have a balance
7:51 pm
between additional revenues and spending cuts. he wants the solutions to the deficit to be widely shared, and i don't think that is at odds with what i've seen from surveys at nabe and i think that is very much in the spirit of bowles-simpson as well which proposed a balanced approach. >> thank you for coming. i also want to say that i appreciate your book on data and the limitations of data. at alice rivlin told us several years ago that the economists in general were guilty of collective delusion and i think what happens is we don't have enough of the right kind of date and i support you and i wonder for example on the government side, or the government data, it is fair something transparent about having data by the
7:52 pm
government requires publicly trading corporations to do about having a complete balance sheet for the federal government and also on the stability side, are you satisfied with the focus on getting the kind of indicators you need to make sure we don't have the instability and the financial crisis that we were completely shocked by three or four years ago? thank you. >> iceboat in more detail in my previous presentation today about efforts to improve the data so we have a better hand like -- handle on risks in the financial sector. i think a major development since then is the creation of the office of financial reserves. did earner as you know -- berner the president's nominee, the head of ofr. ofr will greatly improve our access to new types of products in the financial sector that can
7:53 pm
potentially cause risk. dado really are a public good, a quintessential public good and one of the problems when it comes to data because it's a public good is no one reads the full benefit so no individual party has the proper incentive to invest fully in collecting the data. that is why i think it's very important that organizations like nabe to highlight the role that economic indicators play it not only government decisions but also business and household decisions because businesses make that are decisions and household make better decisions if we have better information about the performance of the economy and that is a broader view than just economist. and then when the government budget is under stress, government statistics are also under stress and that is something i would also encourage this group to pay attention to going forward because many of
7:54 pm
the innovations in our statistical infrastructure are at risk as the agencies will be facing tighter and tighter budgets going forward. thank you. [applause] >> thank you for sharing with us. i want to make a quick announcement for this session. single-family finance, the discussion has been moved. the current session will take place in seven minutes. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
7:55 pm
[inaudible conversations] >> today supreme court oral arguments coming up in a few minutes on c-span2. here on the s. been a busy of long day of debate on the fiscal year 2013 budget resolution in the u.s. house and. you can follow that on c-span2. during the course of that debate
7:56 pm
in an effort to bring up the reauthorization of the violence against women act, representative gwen moore democrat from wisconsin this afternoon recounted her experience of being sexuallymin abused as a child and raised as a younghe woman. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman is recognized for five minutes. ms. moore: thank you, representative slaughter and thank you, mr. speaker. i urge my colleagues to vote no on the previous question to allow us to consider the violence against women act. you know, it is pathetic and it is disappointing that we, it's come to this, that we have to use a procedural shenanigans to talk about an initiative that has been a bipartisan initiative since 1994. the violence against women -- violence against women in this country is not levied against just democrats, but republicans as well. not blacks or whites or hispanics, but against native people as well, not just
7:57 pm
christians or muslims but jews and nonreligious people, atheists. not just rich people or poor people, but middle class people. and not just against heterosexual -- heterosexual women but homosexual couples. it knows no gender new york ethnicity, it knows nothing. violence against women is as american as apple pie. and i know not only as a legislator who -- but from my own personal experience, violence -- domestic violence a thread throughout my personal life. ld to and including being a child repeatedly sexually, assaulted up and to and inc including being an adult who ha been raped. i just don't have enough time to insure all those experiencesbu with you, but i can tell you that when this bill came out of the senate judiciary committee
7:58 pm
with all of the republicanats, senators, all of the guys voting no, it really brought up some terrible memories for me of having, you know, boys sit in ao locker room and sort of bet that i, the a kid, could not be had.t e e appointed boy when he saw to i wasn't going to a piece took my underwear to display it to the rest of the boys, this is what american women are facing. and i'm so proud to be an author of this amendment because it has been in the past a bipartisan bill which this bill will strengthen the core program the support -- to support law enforcement, prosecutions, judicial staff training. it will include new initiatives aimed at protecting against
7:59 pm
violence related homicides in this cupry and extend authority to protect native american victims on tribal land. it would ensure a strong response to insufficient reporting and services for victims of sexual assault. it would increase the number of new visas for undocumented women who, because they're in the chateaus, -- shadows, are particularly vulnerable to domestic violence. and this bill would expand services for underserved communities, those that due to their religion, gender, or sexual orientation have not been served. this is not a partisan issue and it would be very, very devastating to women of all colors, creeds, and sexual orientations for us not to


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on